How Many Layers Are Cut During C-Section? What You Need To Know

How Many Layers Are Cut During C-Section

Cesarean delivery is a doctor’s surgical procedure to extract or deliver a baby. It is done in place of vaginal birth or vaginal delivery in cases where it is medically necessary.

Many women experience Cesarean delivery at the end of their pregnancy. 

Still, when discussing the actual uterine incision, many women aren’t aware of how many layers are cut, where the initial skin incision is made, and whether you can have a vaginal birth in subsequent pregnancies after Cesarean delivery.

This article will answer how many layers are cut during C-section. If you have a scheduled Cesarean delivery, read on to learn important information.

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Why have a Cesarean delivery?

A Cesarean section, or C-section, is a major surgery that requires skill, precision, and planning. The recovery time is longer than that of women who deliver vaginally, and pain relief is a necessary part of that recovery.

If you’re wondering why anyone would have a C-section after knowing all that, you’re about to find out. The following are some of the most common reasons women get a c-section.

1. Mother or baby is at risk

If the heart rate of the baby, or blood pressure of the mom, or one of many other health issues arises during active labor, a Cesarean delivery may be ordered by the doctor. This is because the labor can stop, and delivery can occur almost immediately.

Emergency c-sections are also performed when it becomes evident that the baby is in a breech position or if there is an issue with the umbilical cord. 

The surgery can take as little as twenty minutes to complete, which in some cases can drastically increase the chances that the mother and baby will be okay.

How Many Layers Are Cut During C-Section

2. Previous c-section

Sometimes, women who have had a C-section for a medically necessary reason will not be allowed to try to deliver vaginally after that point. Any pregnancies that follow will result in a C-section.

This is the preferred method for many doctors, as it keeps the abdominal wall from being put under too much strain, pulling on the incision scar tissue, and risking tissue damage.

However, it should also be noted that if you feel that you instead deliver your next baby vaginally, and your pregnancy and your health are not at risk, you can most likely find a doctor who will be willing to help you deliver vaginally even after you have had a previous Cesarean section.

3. Labor dystocia

This is the most common reason for a C-section. It means that labor is not progressing as it should be, which can lead to the baby being in distress. 

In these cases, doctors typically mandate a C-section.

This can happen during an induction, where a woman is not ready to be in labor in the first place, but the synthetic drug Pitocin starts contractions. 

Sometimes the process stalls, the baby can end up in distress, or the mother’s blood pressure is compromised. In these cases, waiting and continuing the regular course of labor induction is risky, and a Cesarean section is often ordered instead.

4. Elective

Sometimes, doctors are okay with women simply choosing to have a C-section. Some women think the trade-off of a more extended recovery period is worth not having to deal with hours of active labor.

This is never a decision to be taken lightly. Women who choose to have this procedure must consider a longer recovery time, help with the baby and any older children, a plan for pain management, and more.

How many layers are cut during C-section

Six separate layers of tissue are cut during a Cesarean delivery. Including your abdominal wall and uterus, each layer is cut individually, with utmost care.

The initial skin incisions are usually done via a vertical incision. Once this incision is made, each layer surrounding it is cut, including the abdominal wall, anterior abdominal wall, nerves, fat, and the uterus.

The following are the layers generally cut to perform a C-section after the initial incision is made in the skin. It should be noted that the skin incision is made vertically or horizontally, based on your doctor’s preference.

1. Subcutaneous tissue

This layer of fat and skin lies on top of the abdominal muscles. The thickness of this tissue varies from woman to woman, but all the layers between the skin and the abdominal muscles must be cut to get to the muscle layer ahead of the uterus.

2. Fascial layer

This thin layer is directly in front of the rectus muscles. This requires a minimal incision with either a scalpel or medical scissors.

3. Rectus muscles

In a primary Cesarean delivery, sometimes there is no actual abdominal incision; instead, the muscles are separated by hand to extract the baby. 

This is done to keep the integrity of the abdominal muscles and cavity.

Separation of these muscles via surgical technique can cause issues with weak muscles, weak bladder control, and more. Typically, doctors attempt to leave this layer intact if possible.

4. Uterus

Your primary surgeon has doubtlessly performed many Cesarean deliveries and will do everything possible to ensure your baby is delivered safely. 

Excessive bleeding is watched out for, and the condition of your baby and your pregnancy is always kept in mind.

For example, if your baby is premature, a low transverse incision of the lower uterine segment is most likely called for to access the baby best. 

Your uterus consists of several layers and areas, and the anatomical structures surrounding the area that needs to be cut are closely monitored.

How Many Layers Are Cut During C-Section

How do I know if my C-section opened inside?

The postpartum period takes a lot of relaxation and monitoring after you leave the operating room. General anesthesia is used in C-sections, but there is usually a fair amount of pain afterward.

You are stitched carefully by specialists in the surgical field and should be able to trust that the recovery phase will be fine. Still, there are cases in which some postpartum women have experienced an opening of internal stitching, which can carry with it several complications.

After about a week, the internal stitching should have dissolved, but the total recovery time after a Cesarean section is about three months. Any time during this period, women are at an increased risk of opening up those incisions, increased infection risk, and risk of blood loss.

Women should watch out for the following symptoms, as they can be signs that the internal incisions have opened up, requiring immediate medical attention and treatment.

  • Heavy Bleeding: Bleeding for the first six weeks or so is normal, but very heavy bleeding is not. Contact your doctor if you need to change your pad more frequently than once every two hours.
  • Offensive Smell: If you notice that the smell of the lochia, or blood, is offensive or rotten, it can be a sign of infection, which will most likely require treatment and antibiotics.
  • Red Blood: Lochia, or the bleeding that occurs after the delivery of a baby, is old blood and is brown or very dark red. If you notice that the blood goes from this dark color to a sudden, very bright red, this is a sign of trauma or fresh bleeding.
  • Intense Pain: Feeling sore or crampy is normal for the first week following a Cesarean section. If, however, it has been several days or weeks, and the pain has gotten worse to the point that it’s not manageable or is unbearable, get in touch with your doctor immediately, or go to the nearest hospital.
  • Dizzy or Short of Breath: If you suddenly become dizzy, disoriented, or feel out of breath, this is a sign that you should seek medical attention or contact your doctor.
  • Fever: Fever is a sign of illness or infection, and if you have a fever and don’t have a disease to associate it with, or if your incision site is red, overly swollen, or hot to the touch, you need to contact your doctor immediately.

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How long after C-section do you bleed

Just like when you deliver a baby vaginally, a C-section delivery involves bleeding for a while during the recovery stage.

It is typical to have some bleeding for six to eight weeks following the delivery of a baby by any method.

If you are bleeding after eight weeks, or if you are bleeding heavily, soaking through more than one pad every two hours, have new blood (bright red), or are passing large clots, this is not normal. 

You need to contact your doctor or the nearest emergency room if this is the case.

You will have an appointment at approximately eight to ten weeks following the delivery of your baby. At this time, your incision will be checked, your uterus will be massaged to ensure that it has shrunk back to its pre-pregnancy size, and you will be able to address any questions or concerns.

If there is a medical emergency or if you exhibit any of the signs listed above, don’t hesitate to get checked out before your postpartum follow-up with your doctor.

Pregnant women and C-sections

A Cesarean section is done in every labor and delivery ward of every hospital in the US daily. They are considered safe, and the doctors and staff know what they’re doing. Although it is an actual surgery that requires anesthesia, it is a commonplace, quick, and routine for many obstetricians.

When you have a Cesarean section, six layers of tissue are cut into, and recovery takes some time. Be on the lookout for signs of infection or rupture, and seek medical help and treatment if anything is off.

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